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January 29, 2015

Ryan Palmer


THE MODERATOR: Welcome Ryan Palmer to the Waste Management Phoenix Open media center. 7-under 64, round 1. Obviously you've got to be pretty pleased with that start. If you could just start off by telling us your thoughts about your round and we'll open it up for questions.

RYAN PALMER: No, it was a fun day. It was awesome. It was obviously a great start to get off this first day, but kind of kick-start the round when I hit a 4-iron into 13 about less than a foot. So that got me going, for sure. I hit it great. Drove well, hit my irons solid, kept it in the middle of the green when I needed to, made some good putts on 2 and 3. Little rough time last five holes. Vision was getting pretty tough out there. Visibility, for sure. From there just tried to hit it in the middle of the greens and give myself chances. You know, probably could have got a few more, I think. Without seeing it very well it was hard, but fun day. A blast on 16. But, you know, great start.

Q. Last week you talked about being in the zone, and obviously there is different levels of that. You were pretty much at the top of it during the one round. You have been pretty hot for the last few months. What's going right? Why is it all clicking right now? Is it career prime? Something else personally? It just all seems to make sense. You're making it look easy. Why is that?
RYAN PALMER: You know, that's hard to say. Obviously confidence is high. My body feels great. The work Randy Smith and I are doing is working. You know, after last year, after the Tour Championship, I kind of told myself we're just getting started, almost like a chip on my shoulder, I have more to prove. I really feel I have a lot of golf left in me, for sure, years to come. You know, I don't know. It's going to be hard to do what Steve Stricker did, but he did his best in his mid 40s. I'm having a blast playing this game, and when you're having fun your confidence is high. I hate using the word "easy," but at times it feels like I can't miss from tee to green, for sure. You know, as long as I keep doing that -- one thing I started last year is I just kept telling myself to get out of the way and let your talent take over. Go through your routines and just pull the trigger. You're good enough to hit this golf shot and just go and get your mind out of the way. That's helped along the way.

Q. What did it feel like out there as far as the atmosphere, the crowds, and especially on 16?
RYAN PALMER: Yeah, no, it was awesome. I assume they broke the record today, easy. That hole is always the toughest because your adrenaline is flowing, and obviously you know it's coming if you don't hit a good shot. They were great. I had quite a few guys following me on my back 9 late this evening. They kind of kept me going, for sure. Kept the momentum going. This tournament is always fun. Fortunately I never had any bad experiences, and I love coming here. I love playing this golf tournament in front of these people and kind of playing up to the crowd like I did on 16 today. That's part of it. If you can't have fun, then why be here?

Q. What did you do on 16?
RYAN PALMER: I signed a golf ball, 11 of them. I had 12 of them. I wrote on there, Have a beer on me, signed it, and then had a $10 bill wrapped around it in rubber bands. I don't know if $10 covers a beer here or not. They got some change out of it, maybe.

Q. Can you comment on the mental component of chipping a golf ball and how, if you're in a slump, how your thoughts can haunt you?
RYAN PALMER: Can we not talk about that (laughter)?

Q. Not referring to you, necessarily.
RYAN PALMER: No, I understand. It's hard to -- I never experienced it, I guess you could say, but as far as putting when you're struggling, you try to find -- you go back to the small things that you used to do. For me it's trying to remember shots I hit before, a putt here, putt there, make a cut or whatever. But when you're struggling, you try to find the things you have done great in the past and try and draw off those experiences that you've done. As far as being in that kind of slump (knocking on table) I haven't been on that one. That's a hard one to ask.

Q. Tiger seems like he's going through that a bit now, today and his tournament a couple months ago.
RYAN PALMER: I figured you were referring to that. I didn't see any of the shots today obviously, but that's probably a hard one to get over. These greens are new and firm, so it's hard to get a lot of check on the ball. He's probably having a hard time finding that as well, I'm sure, trying to find the right spin to put on the ball. Obviously if you put them in the wrong places around these greens you can get short-sighted easily. You're lucky to have a 10-footer. That could have something to do with it, as well. But I'm sure he'll get it back (smiling).

Q. Over the years, how has this course set up for you and your game? And do you like it better now or the way it was before?
RYAN PALMER: In the past it's been better for me, I think, because there is a lot of shots that, a lot of draw ball tee shots. A lot of greens set up for me, as well, depending on where the pin is obviously. I was able to kind of attack the golf course with the length I have. From what it is now to what it used to be, it's definitely longer, for sure. I used to hit a lot of wedges, sand wedges, and we are not doing that anymore. But I like what they did from tee to green. They did a lot of good things. There are a few greens that I'm sure if you ask a lot of players they weren't very pleased about, but overall I think they did a really good job with it. It's in perfect shape, for sure. Greens are rolling pretty pure, of course with the bounces they are getting. Overall I think they did a good job.

Q. Keegan was saying earlier he enjoys playing with these longer courses, and he said there weren't enough. Do you believe that? Do you agree with that? How do you think that helps you as your specific skill set?
RYAN PALMER: Obviously a longer golf course helps the big hitters, but I play every day at Colonial County Club at Fort Worth and it's not very long. I played solid at Cherry Hills, which wasn't too bad either. I think a lot of courses think adding distance is the key, which is false, I think. But you put the bunkers in the right place, and you tuck pins in the right spots, it's going to be hard to shoot low rounds. This golf course can play short if you're driving the ball long, because it's pretty firm. Ball flies a little further with the altitude we're at, so fortunately big hitters have a chance if they're hitting it well this week for sure.

Q. Did you think about stopping? You finished before they blew the horn, right?
RYAN PALMER: Yeah. No, we never thought about it. I was wanting to finish, for sure. I was going to -- if they blew it while we were on 9, I was definitely going to try to finish. It got tough the last three holes. You could see it, but you're having a hard time reading the green. That was the main thing.
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